Pacific | Nuclear

Green MP says Japan should dump its nuclear wastewater in its own back yard

Greens MP Teanau Tuiono scoffs at news Japan is pouring radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean but saying it will be safe.

“We always get told that nuclear testing and waste is safe,” he says. “Time and time again, this has proven to not be true.”

The Green Party has just issued a statement on Japan’s treated nuclear wastewater being dumped into the Pacific Ocean, saying it stands in solidarity with those opposing the dumping of radioactive contaminated water.

The decision to dump because of the giant 2011 earthquake in Japan, which led to the flooding of three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, making containment a challenge. Now the Japanese government has chosen to spill the treated water into the Pacific.

The process to discharge the wastewater will take up to 30 years.

Pacific peoples spokesperson Teanau Tuiono is questioning the legitimacy of the process, saying Japanese people are still covering up in protective gear to handle the treated water, and also given the history of nuclear testing within the Pacific.

‘Dump it in your own backyard’

“The Pacific is part of our shared cultural identity as well,” he says. “If we remember, we always get told that nuclear testing and waste is safe. Time and time again, this has proven to not be true.”

Tuiono is doubling down on having renewable energy sources over nuclear, safe or otherwise, due to climate change and avoiding nuclear troubles in the Pacific. He’s also wanting New Zealand and other countries to call out Japan’s actions.

That’s while some countries have had mixed responses, Fiji being one in support while others were not.

“If it’s so safe, why not just dump it in your own backyard? Why dump it in our collective backyard?

“I think we need to remember our legacy in pushing back against nuclear testing in the Pacific and our support for a nuclear-free and independent Pacific. The history of the Rainbow Warrior in Aotearoa - and our part in that movement - I think it’s really important for us to stand on that tradition to say no to nuclear wastewater.”

Public Interest Journalism